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Learning from Work Experience

To understand the significance of work experience in terms of career development and employability, it is important to consider it as a site of learning.

This means our second set of key concepts concerns learning.

On the teaching days we will spend some time looking at learning theories and integrating these with career development concepts.

The Qualification and Curriculum Authority paper in the core reading might not seem an obvious reading for this module in that it focuses on a vocational qualification. However, it includes a useful overview of theories of experiential, situated and connective learning which we will explore during the teaching sessions.

Experiential Learning

We will now go on to look at David Kolb's theory of experiential learning in more detail. The following quote demonstrates the relevance of Kolb's work to work experience.

"Learning is the major process of human adaption. This concept of learning is considerably broader than that commonly associated with the school classroom. It occures in all human settings, from schools to the workplace, from the research laboratory to the management board room, in personal relationships and the ailses of the local grocery. It encompasses all life stages from chioldhood to adolescence, to middle and old age.....

When learning is conceived as a holistic adaptive process, it provides conceptual bridges across life situations such as school and work, portraying learning as a continuous, lifelong process." (Kolb, 1984: 32-33)

Now read the extract from 'Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development (Kolb, 1984) in your reading pack.

Learning theories of career development

John Krumboltz's work on a learning theory of career choice and development also provide a useful bridge between learning and career. Your reading pack contains his chapter on 'A learning theory of career counseling', from M.L. Savickas & W.B. Walsh (Eds.), Handbook of career counseling theory and practice.

This narrated presentation provides an example of how Kolb and Krumboltz can be synthesised through an example of work experience which led to career development learning.